Women Outscore Men on the ACT College Entrance Examination

The annual report on college readiness issued by the American College Testing Program shows that for the first time in history, young women, on average, scored higher than men on the ACT college entrance examination. The composite score for women in the 2017 high school graduating class was 21.1 on the ACT scoring scale of 1 to 36. The average score for men was 21.0. A year ago, men and women posted an identical average score.

Women held an edge on the English part of the test with an average score of 20.8 compared to a 19.9 average score for men. Women held an edge in reading scores, 21.8 to 21.2. In mathematics men had an average score of 21.2 compared to the average score for women of 20.4. In science, the average score for men was 21.3 compared to an average score for women of 20.8

Some 65 percent of all women ACT test takers were rated as achieving a benchmark score which demonstrated that they were ready for college-level English classes. Only 59 percent of men reached the college-readiness benchmark in English. In contrast, 44 percent of men were deemed ready for college-level mathematics, compared to 39 percent of women who took the ACT. Women held a three percentage point lead in college readiness over men in reading scores but men had an average score in science that was five percentage points higher than for women.

Some 29 percent of men who took the ACT test were deemed college ready in all four areas of English, mathematics, reading, and science. For women, 26 percent of all test takers were deemed college ready in all four areas.

The full ACT report, The Condition of College and Career Readiness 2017, may be downloaded by clicking here.

Filed Under: Gender GapResearch/Study

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